Vancouver Province Newspaper Article
Thursdays Vancouver Province article didn't have room for the long version of some of
the answers, so I thought I'd put the outtakes here:
The outtakes are the green coloured text:

Vancouver Province Newspaper (Vancouver BC) interview:
Portraits of an Artist: Pencil in a visit to Art Beatus and its special works
Hans Ongsansoy
, Thursday, August 5, 2010

This week's Portraits of an Artist is a special one because we get to feature work at one of our favourite galleries in the city: Art Beatus. A small gallery with a focus on contemporary Asian works, Art Beatus feels like a secret you can share with your closest friends This is, in part, due to its unconventional location, inside the downtown office building located at 808 Nelson Street. But, once you find the gallery tucked away in Suite 108, the secret will definitely be out.
The gallery's current show is Line Up!, a four-artist group exhibition with a special focus on drawing. Pieces range from pencil crayon drawings and vinyl (intaglio) prints to pencil sketches and sumi ink drawings.
The latter are the specialty of Janice Wong, who uses sumi ink to create pieces that are playful yet meditative. They also bear a resemblance to the symbols used in music theory, which Wong is happy to discuss in our now-weekly Q & A. Enjoy.

What draws you to drawing?

Thinking about how I draw, I would say, I enjoy drawing for the qualities of direct, pure expression, economy of means and minimal tools: pen, ink and paper. My drawings go through fewer processes than other mediums that I work in, and for that reason, they have a simple, clear connection to impulse and action. For me, there's something peaceful and deeply satisfying in that pared-down process.

What are some of your influences?

I'm drawn to many things, from wide-open vistas, to light, weather, colour, maps, music, pattern and code, words, sound, and the subtle relationships between things.

What is this connection that seems to exist between your work and music?

As a youth, I studied a few musical instruments: the piano, the clarinet and the guitar. Many years later, I tried to reacquaint myself with the guitar and it soon proved to be too rigorous. Now long after, I began making these drawings. It was only after making several that I noticed a link to music notation. Then, I began clustering lines in groups of five, like the staff or stave in western music notation. And, I began thinking of how visual art and music are often described in similar terms. We describe composition, balance, tone and form, colour, rhythm and counterpoint. We'll talk about a note "floating on air," or radiating and vibrating, and it seems natural to conjure an image of this in our minds. If we're open to trying, it's not too far-fetched to try to imagine what a sound looks like.

In 2D artwork, there is jointly positive and negative space (the forms depicted and the space around them), just as musical tones have to have space around them in order to be heard. To become music, the tones must combine in some sensitive fashion and I often think that the "empty" spaces, the pauses, between the tones, are as important as the tones themselves. It's much the same with drawing.

While no longer playing a musical instrument, I felt like I was still able to make music, at least in this abstract manner. The drawings also relate to my interest in code. Long before I had an appreciation for non-objective/abstract artwork, I could appreciate the fact that music notation is a code, in other words, a picture for what sound looks like.

If you could own any piece of art in the history of the world, what would it be and why?

Since I'm fantasizing, I'd choose a piece of architecture, a modest-sized home, by Yoshio Taniguchi. I'm attracted to his work because of its purity, grace and delicacy.

He uses materials, light and proportion to create quiet environments, spaces that, in his words, "afford a deep connection with the beauty of nature."
He also spoke of people having become skewed towards wordly spaces soliciting something from them—streets deluged with signs and overflowing with information—and the need for environments that allow people to reflect. Because I often feel like we live in a visually "noisy" world, this sentiment resonates with me. But, if I'm restricted to visual art, then I'd have to have a round-the-world trip in order to make a fully informed decision. I'm assuming this would be to live with and look at daily, which has great bearing on the choice. Maybe I'd choose Agnes Martin's "Trumpet, 1967" but someone already owns that one.

Conversely, if you could choose anyone in the history of the world to own one of your pieces, who would that person be and why?

My answer would be different for each medium I work in, but since we're discussing drawing, and since it can be anyone, I would say Lou Harrison,the American musician who passed away in 2003.

In the 1960s, he improvised his musical instruments from steel brake drums and found objects; he was amalgamating eastern and western music. I like his sense of sound, relationships, subtlety, playfulness and modernity.